Norman Sydney Wilson


About Norman Sydney

  • Name
    Norman Sydney
  • Initials
    N S
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    3 February 1890
  • Birth town
    Peterborough, Northamptonshire
  • Resided town
    Peterborough, Northamptonshire and Darlington
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
    Sheffield, Yorkshire
  • Date of death
    18 June 1958
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Northamptonshire Regiment


Soldier N S Wilson passed through Peterborough East Station twice in May 1917.  His first entry was a quote by English poet and playwright, Robert Browning “The best is yet to come”.  He signed himself as a Cadet from Gailles, Scotland.

Although we have been unable to trace his service record we believe he is Norman Sydney Wilson who was serving as a Cadet with “B” Company 9th Officer Cadet Battalion attached to the 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment based at Gailes Camp, Ayrshire.  He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Special Reserve of Officers on 28 August 1917 and posted to the Yorks and Lancaster Regiment.

His second entry in the visitors’ book later in May 1917 read:

“Pro Rege et Lege”

Their hands were not fashioned for the gun nor for the sword
But toward
The ridge of death they turned & warriors proved
To save,
The weaker world – all they gave!
No starveling souls were they
But men who Knew the beauty of the day.
And the City Owls – for ever wise
Gazed on with steadfast eyes.
Leeds “Pals”

(The visitors’ book can be searched by date).

“Pro Rege et Lege” is the motto on the City of Leeds Coat of Arms and means “For King and law”.  It is also on the badge of the West Yorkshire Regiment 15th and 17th Battalions (‘Leeds Pals’)

Norman Sydney Wilson was born in Peterborough on 3 February 1890, to parents Thomas and Margaret (nee Harris).  In 1891, the family were living at The Golden Fleece, Westgate, Peterborough, where his father, Thomas (49) was publican and wine merchant.  Also living at The Golden Fleece were Margaret (40), Walter (19) teacher of music, George (17) jeweller’s apprentice, William (16) hairdresser’s apprentice, Annie (18) artist painter, Maggie (15), Florence (13), Hilda (10), Kate (3) and Norman (1).  By 1901, Thomas had retired and the family were living in Park Road, Peterborough.

In 1911, Norman is boarding at 4 Soane Street, Ipswich and is an ophthalmic optician.  He attested whilst working at Leeds in 1914, living at Park Square.  On 21 December 1914, he joined the 2/1 West Riding Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, Territorial Army (TA).

On 15 May 1915, he joined 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment (Regular Army) and gained promotion to Lance Corporal in August 1915, shortly before the Battalion departed for France.  His service record contains a letter dated 20 August 1915, in which he sought advice regarding his second enlistment to join his older brother, as at the time he was still committed to the Territorial Army.  There is no filed reply to this letter and the Battalion departed for France on 01 September 1915.  It appears that no further action was taken.

He returned from France in June 1916, and was hospitalised in Manchester for 4 months with TB.  After release he joined the 3rd Battalion from whom he applied for a Temporary Commission the following year.  On 5 May 1917, he joined No 9 Officer Cadet Battalion at Gailes, Scotland for training.  He gained his Commission in August 1917, and joined the 9th Yorkshire & Lancashire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant in France.

In March 1918 he was again taken ill, and treated in Field Hospitals before returning to the UK on 22 April 1918.  The following day he was admitted to Northumberland War Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne with heart and sleep issues.  In September 1918, he assumed some duties with the Ministry of Labour but continued medical issues saw him being declared unfit for any further military duties in June 1919, he was awarded the Silver War Badge.  Norman was also awarded the 14/15 Star, the British War and Allied Victory medals.

At discharge he gave his address as 215 Glossop Road, Sheffield, but requested his medals be sent to 12 Park Road, Peterborough, his parent’s home.

Norman married Gladys Gill in Tynemouth in 1918 and they had two sons: Raymond Melville (1921) and Alan (1927) both born in West Derby.

In 1939, Norman and Gladys were living with their sons at Elton Road, Darlington.  Norman was a dispensing optician.  Norman died in the Royal Hospital, Sheffield on 18 June 1958 at the age of 68.  His address was 30 Barholm Road, Sheffield.

Could Norman be a member of your family?  Do get in touch if you can tell us more about him.


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